Submitted by Bedford Youth and Family Services
You are likely hearing a lot these days about “mindfulness” and what it can do for your mood and health. What is mindfulness and how can it help you manage stress and anxiety?
Mindfulness is a practice in which you focus on the physical feelings of what you are doing and maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness. For example, walking mindfully is a practice in which when you walk, you focus on what you are feeling and seeing. You focus on the feeling of your feet touching the ground, the air on your face, and the sights in front of you. Pretty different than walking around your neighborhood thinking about how you’re going to get everything done, isn’t it?
It’s important to focus on all this without judging the experience as good or bad. Some people find mindfulness easier than other forms of meditation because it does not require that you “clear” the mind. Instead, you do have something to focus on and that focus can take you out of feelings of anxiety and put you in a calmer state. Of course, simply practicing mindfulness will not address everyone’s anxiety.
Another step in addressing any mental health symptoms is taking a free and anonymous screening, which Bedford Youth and Family Services offers online at www.bedfordma.gov/youth under “screenings” or www.screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/byfs
Terrific. I strongly recommend the books and audio by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Assuming you don’t have a medical condition incompatible with mindfulness training, I have found formal practice to be wonderful. E.g., consider: https://www.mindfulnesscds.com/